Civil Resistance: the story you can’t ignore

When it comes to climate breakdown, we’ve had the facts, we’ve had the information, we’ve had the science, for decades. But – unbelievably – it’s SINCE we’ve had this information that we’ve done the most harm to our world and to ourselves.

Radical theologian Dr Carmody Grey starts her talk with this shattering point. And the conclusion she draws is blazingly clear: facts, information and science don’t motivate people to change. Tell a smoker smoking will kill them? They’ll carry on. Facts are not what power the human heart.

That’s why just talking about science will not save us. And quoting all the statistics in the world will not move us to change. 

Obviously science is crucial to understanding what is going on. But the evidence base is just a starting point: it’s not the be-all and end-all. We need a deeper energy – a new shared story in which we genuinely start to believe in ourselves again. To believe that human lives have value. That we are powerful, loving beings who can imagine, create and heal. That we are worth saving.

This story is told in Civil Resistance. We see people – human, ordinary, fragile – placing their vulnerable selves in front of menacing monsters: the tankers plying their deadly trade. We see how, with dignity and calm, they unfurl their banner and claim their space. We see their faces: some are grandparents, some so young. Then they are swept off in the arms of the police. With fearless focus, they give up their freedom for what they love. This is the new story: the story that will reach deeper into our hearts, create a new drama of love, and provide the energy for real transformation.

As Carmody says: Civil Resistance is a communicative act. It communicates that something is very wrong and needs to change. It’s not trying to seize power in a violent, armed revolution: that, she says, would be just like putting on a new set of clothes on a person who hasn’t changed.

Like any real, authentic act of communication – like any story worth its salt – Civil Resistance disrupts. It makes us feel scared and uncomfortable – maybe embarrassed, maybe elated. It reaches into parts of our nervous system that may have long gone to sleep – whispering ‘wake up! The age of heroes has returned!’

Something new is stirring – breaking out of the moral and emotional bankruptcy that has led us to the brink of extinction. That something is called Civil Resistance. And it’s bringing back values we’ve been taught to ridicule or see as curiosities of the past: love, faith, vision and bravery.

See Carmody’s talk in full here The Ethical Basis of Civil Resistance – YouTube 

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